The Art of Identifying Emotions

Each week on the QuaverSEL blog, we’re highlighting one of the core CASEL competencies and a sub-skill. This week, we’re taking a look at Self-Awareness and just two of the many resources available right at your fingertips to help students be able to recognize and identify emotions. Dig into this engaging activity that can be done in five minutes or less!

Let’s dive in!

Your Teacher Toolbox is a treasure trove of activities and visuals to equip students with a deeper emotional understanding. 

Today, we’ll take a look at two simple activities in your Toolbox to help students begin to recognize and identify emotions within themselves and others. 

Make the Emotion

Can your students recognize emotion by facial expressions and body language? To begin, ask students: What kinds of feelings do we associate with tears? What feelings might a big smile indicate? Tell them we are going to practice identifying emotions through looking at characters’ faces. 

Under the Emotions icon in your Teacher Toolbox, you’ll find a simple activity for sharing and talking about emotions. This interactive screen can be used as a visual aid to help students identify and communicate their feelings. 

Select a student to come to the board and create a face that reflects how he or she is feeling using the drag and drop facial icons. See if students can describe the character’s emotions by their facial expression and body language. 

Next, create a happy face using the feature icons. Then, change the face’s smile to a frown. Ask the students what might have happened to produce these changes. This is a great way to get students thinking about what causes certain emotions and to better recognize when they are feeling this way. 

Click the smiley face icon to choose from a preset list of character faces for each emotion. Select one student to choose one of the emotions from the list and see what kind of face the character now makes. Discuss what each of these words mean. What might have caused them to feel this way? 

Emotion Soundboard

Under the same Emotions icon in your Teacher Toolbox, you’ll find the Emotion Soundboard, a fun, interactive screen where students are given the opportunity to talk about how and what emotions they may be feeling.

Invite students to look at the Soundboard and discuss what emotions students see in each emoji. Ask them what events may cause someone to feel this way.

Invite students to come to the board and press the button that reflects the way they are feeling in that moment. You can also toggle the Soundboard to kid faces to more accurately represent your students. Discuss how the sound and the music reflect that feeling. 

As students get more comfortable with sharing their feelings, ask another student to give them encouragement as needed. This is a great way to reinforce empathy and problem-solving. 

And there you have it! These are just a few of the resources at your disposal for addressing self-awareness and the ability to identify emotions in your classroom. 

Stay tuned to the blog in the coming weeks as we dive into Self-Management and Impulse Control. 


How will you address Self-Awareness in your classroom?